This is getting a little old. They keep predicting rain. ("40% chance," which in other times meant we got rain) but there's no rain forthcoming.
Also, it makes for insecurity about what's going to happen in lab today.
We're supposed to go out and collect insects, but if it's storming we
can't. At least I have the soil sample for the second part of the lab
and if it storms, we can just do that lab.
The dewpoints around here have hovered around 70-72 F. The pressure has been darn near 30 inches of mercury.
I hurt. My body doesn't tolerate that level of humidity and high pressure well. I know people who complain about arthritis et al. when there's low pressure in the area, but I find that high pressure makes me hurt - my joints hurt, my lungs hurt, my neck and shoulders ache. I had a near-migraine yesterday afternoon.
Which was not improved by having to be part of a 2 1/2 hour meeting to figure out the "mandatory updates" to the AAUW bylaws...the National headquarters sent out an e-mail telling us we "had" to do this by May 15, but to wait on what the State said. We finally gave up on waiting and tried to do it on our own. Ultimately, the blame for all this falls on the IRS (where else) because of new regulations (apparently) governing non-profit groups. We've had more annoying paperwork to do in the past several years because of this....we are a TINY chapter, some 20 people. Our only income is from a fundraiser that happens once a year, and almost all of that money (about $5K) is earmarked for scholarships and things like small donations to the local Girl Scouts. But, as is always the case these days, presumably someone somewhere in some branch broke the rules, so those of us who have been responsible and law-abiding if "flying under the radar" of having every legal i dotted and t crossed....now we have to CONFORM.
Incidentally, did you know that some states apparently have laws against groups holding ballot votes? (as opposed to, I assume, voice votes, which is what we do). To avoid any hangups there and to avoid having to plow through arcane state law, we just wrote it in that all votes will be voice votes. Could be a problem if we ever grow to 200 members, but I don't see that happening.
I'm kind of the keeper of the bylaws these days. Part of this was by default; I'm one of the longer-term members who's comfortable using a computer and the Internet. Part of it was that I just agreed to do it, seeing as I already do the yearbook. I admit I kind of have a love-hate relationship with this thing. On the one hand, it's a big time-suck every time it needs work. But on the other hand: I admit I take a certain perverse pleasure in understanding how these things work, and in being the one who can keep these things updated and who has copies of them available. I don't know if I can quite call myself the branch parliamentarian (though I kind of wish I could; perhaps my love of formal titles is my German heritage coming out; stereotypically Germans love formal titles and getting those titles right).
Also, being able to deal with this stuff deals with my need to feel like I am an Adult! Someone who was just a pretend adult wouldn't understand this stuff, and would resist dealing with it, at any rate.
I finished reading (finally) The Spanish Bride Saturday night. (I would have finished earlier but I'm one of those read-multiple-books-at-a-time people, and my attention kept getting sucked away by other things). I maintain that it's an excellent read: just a plain old-fashioned good STORY. And it has interesting characters and characters you can cheer for. (Juana, in particular. Juana is so great.) One thing I find I dislike about some "modern" novels is that none of the characters are able to capture my sympathy: they do something really stupid, or really wrong and hurtful to another person at the beginning of the story and I find myself not really able to like them. And I have to like at least one of the characters in a novel to be happy reading it. (That may also be part of my love of the detective-series novels: I know I will like Hercule Poirot, or Nero Wolfe, or Inspector Alleyn, whatever else the other characters may be like).
I think in one of her essays, Madeline L'Engle wrote about how she didn't like antiheroes in novels, and that she sensed many children and teens did not either. And I have to admit, I agree with her on that. When I read a novel, frankly, I tend to want someone who is, in some way, a better person than I am, someone I can look up to. (Juana, in the book I just finished, pretty much passes the test: she puts up with amazing hardships "following the drum" and yet she does not complain. Oh, she may worry about "her Enrique," she may yell at him for taking crazy chances when he does come back: but she doesn't whine.)
So, it was time for me to select a new novel. I had actually looked a bit at what was on offer at Books a Million when I was there Saturday, but didn't find anything that appealed. (Another aside: as a historical novel, The Spanish Bride passes another one of my tests - you can open it up to any random place and NOT find an explicit sex scene. Oh, it's implied that "Enrique" (Harry Smith) and Juana did the normal things normal married couples do, but it wasn't described in any detail. And yes, I'm a prude, but I don't like reading about the intimate activities of characters in a novel.) One of the novels I considered, in its cover blurb, referred to an "inexperienced 14 year old girl" and my brain went "Danger, Will Robinson!" and I rejected that one out of hand. ("Inexperienced" tends to be a code word in the world of historical novels).
So I went with something off my own shelves. I picked up "Dr Whortle's School" again (another Trollope novel). I started this one something like a year back and got distracted by other things. I often do that. It's not that I don't LIKE the book....it's that I just get distracted by one I like more.
It's rare I reject a book after giving it a trial. The only one I can think of recently was "Eat, Pray, Love" (which is actually being discussed on ITFF right now, though the discussion has veered over into more "what are Westerners' perceptions of how Buddhism works?"). I just couldn't get very far into it because the narrator annoyed me. I'm sure this is partly my 'stuff' - my interpretation of what the narrator was doing was, "Ho hum, I am bored with my life here in America, and I have all these pesky responsibilities. I know! I'll dump all those responsibilities and travel the world to find myself!" And I realize that's probably an unfair assessment, but I had the bad fortune to start the book at a point in time where I found myself the dumpee of someone else's responsibilities - no, they didn't run off to India or anything, but they still flaked out on what they were supposed to do.
Also, I guess I tend to see "enlightenment" (however you may define it) as something that comes from within, or as something you can learn more or less anywhere if you're willing to listen for it. There's a book on my shelves (not read yet but someday) called "After the ecstasy, the laundry." And I also think of the story of the Buddhist monk who was approached by a novice: "Master, what did you do before enlightenment?" "I chopped wood and carried water." "And what did you do after enlightenment?" "I chopped wood and carried water."
That little scenario speaks to me in several ways: for one thing, there is the idea that there are always everyday, keeping-body-and-soul-together things one must do. Many (most?) religious orders expect day-to-day work (cleaning, cooking, gardening) of their members. But also, you can chop wood and carry water (or whatever) and have different perspectives on it depending on where you are on your journey. So while it may still look like you are "just" chopping wood or carrying water, it can come to mean something very different to you as you grow and change. And I think also the fact that I tend to feel you don't get to walk away from what "everyone" must do in life just because you have attained some kind of spiritual knowledge: it would seem very shallow to me for someone to say to the rest of his community, "Now that I am enlightened, I expect the rest of you to do my latrine duty, as I am now clearly too good for it." (Again, that may be my own faith-path and way of looking at the world talking....)
I also think of the line at the end of the Wizard of Oz, that goes something like if you go out seeking your heart's desire, very often it is in your own backyard all along.
At any rate, I started re-reading Dr Whortle's School. I had forgotten how much I like Trollope. In a way, he seems to share some commonality of tone with Jane Austen - a slight sarcasm, perhaps. Or maybe it's the way he has of addressing his reader directly.